Thurstable and Winstree Team Ministry

serving the parishes of Tolleshunt Knights with Tiptree, Great Braxted, Copford, Easthorpe, Messing, Inworth,
Layer de la Haye, Layer Breton with Birch, and Layer Marney

The 'Layer' Parishes: Layer de la Haye • Layer Breton with Birch • Layer Marney


C of E logoOur three parishes serve the Essex villages of Layer de la Haye, Birch, Layer Breton, and Layer Marney. We have a close working relationship with two of the other parishes in our benefice, Copford and Easthorpe, under the leadership of our Team Vicar, The Revd Lydia Smith. We are part of the Church of England and our parishes are situated in attractive rural settings, just south of Colchester.

We welcome everyone who would like to join us for our services of worship, or our social events, regardless of the stage he or she has reached on their own spiritual journey. Meeting and worshipping together are essential parts of christian faith and life.

Thank you for visiting our website. Here we aim to provide a range of helpful and interesting information about our parishes and their activities. Lower down this page are links to the main pages on the site, each with a brief explanation of content. If you would like to suggest additions to our pages, please contact the webmaster.

St John the Baptist, Layer de la Haye
"The Light shines in the darkness" (John 1:5a)    St John the Baptist, Layer de la Haye

TWTMlogoThe Benefice of Thurstable and Winstree and its Ministry Team

The three 'Layer' parishes are part of the Benefice of Thurstable and Winstree. The other six parishes in the benefice are Copford, Easthorpe, Tolleshunt Knights with Tiptree, Great Braxted, Messing and Inworth.


The Revd Lydia Smith, based at Layer de la Haye, is Team Vicar and has day-to-day responsibility for leading ministry in the parishes of Layer de la Haye, Layer Breton with Birch, Layer Marney, Copford and Easthorpe.

The Revd Anne-Marie Renshaw, based at Tiptree, is Team Rector. She has overall responsibility for leading ministry in the benefice and day-to-day responsibility for the parishes of Tolleshunt Knights with Tiptree, Great Braxted, Messing and Inworth.

Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals

To discuss a baptism, wedding or funeral in the Layer, Copford and Easthorpe parishes please contact our Team Vicar, The Revd Lydia Smith.

Useful information for those considering a wedding in any of the churches in our benefice can be found on the page Wedding Information for Enquirers

Safeguarding Statement

We are committed to Safeguarding children and young people and vulnerable adults.

The PCCs have adopted the Church of England’s policies and best practice on safeguarding which may be found on the Church of England’s website:

Details of our Parish Safeguarding Representatives are:
Layer de la Haye: Anne Hughes, Tel: 01206-734168; Email:
Layer Marney and Layer Breton with Birch: Judy Bancroft - Tel: 01206-330067; Email:

News(see also our Forthcoming Events page)

Worship Arrangements Update

On Monday 22nd February the Government announced its roadmap to easing Covid restrictions. Since that announcement our Team Vicar and the churchwardens of our group of five churches have reviewed our worship arrangements. They agreed that public worship in our churches should remain suspended until the end of March.

Easter Day falls on Sunday 4th April this year. Towards the end of March consideration will be given to possible options for worship during Holy Week and on Easter Day. It may be possible, for example, to hold outdoor services at our churches on Easter Day. Decisions on, and arrangements for, any public worship will be advertised here as they become available.

In the meantime, Lydia, our Team Vicar, will continue to provide on-line Sunday services on YouTube, Facebook and Zoom. See below for details of Online Sunday Services.

Four of our five churches remain open for private prayer on the days and at the times shown below . These are subject to review as circumstances change.

Lydia's Musical Lent Calendar

Lydia, our Team Vicar, has created a musical Lent calendar (like the one she created for Advent last year). It can be accessed by using this link Musical Lent Calendar which will open a new window in your browser to display the calendar.

Online Sunday Services for 7th March • Third Sunday of Lent

Online Service Visual9:00am Morning Prayer Service on YouTube

Our Sunday Morning Services on YouTube include a bible reading, a reflection or talk, and prayers.

This Sunday's service can be viewed on YouTube at from 9:00 am on Sunday. Clicking on the link will take you straight to the video. You can view the service live at 9 o'clock or later at a time to suit you. The service is set as a YouTube Premiere and also a Facebook Premiere for Layer de la Haye, Layer Marney and Easthorpe. This allows those who tune in live to chat live also (or at least say hello to others).

The service and some of our previous services can also be viewed by following this link to our YouTube channel

Service on

9:30am Morning Service on Zoom

Please contact Lydia, our Team Vicar, for log-on details if you don't already have them.

News Sheet for Sunday 7th March

The news sheet (in PDF format) for the Layer, Copford and Easthorpe parishes for the above Sunday can be viewed and/or downloaded by using this link: Weekly News Sheet.

Our Churches Open for Private Prayer

Our churches are open for individual private prayer as follows:

St John the Baptist, Layer de la Haye: Sundays and Wednesdays only, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

St Mary the Virgin, Layer Marney: Sundays and Wednesdays only, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

St Michael & All Angels, Copford: Every day from 9:00am to 4:00pm.

St Mary the Virgin, Easthorpe: Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

The above days and times are those effective as at 31st December 2020 but are subject to review. Please check our websites and Facebook pages for any changes.

If you are visiting any of our churches, please observe the government’s social distancing guidelines and use the hand sanitiser provided. To keep others safe, please do not enter if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Those who are shielding or self-isolating also should not visit.

Peter Goodchild - An Appreciation

We were greatly saddened by the death of Peter Goodchild on 17th January 2021. Peter was a much liked and well respected contributor to the life of St John the Baptist's church, to the village of Layer de la Haye, and to the town of Colchester. An appreciation of his life and contribution to the community was published in the March 2021 issue of the Layer de la Haye Parish Gazette. The magazine article is reproduced here on the page Peter Goodchild - An Appreciation

Church Giving

Thank you to everyone who continues to give to our churches, by whatever means: it is much appreciated.

If you would like to help us with our costs by setting up a standing order or making payments direct (e.g. through internet banking) to one of our bank accounts, please contact Lydia, our Team Vicar, for the information you will need.

If you wish to make payments to the church of St John the Baptist, Layer de la Haye, whether by cheque, standing order or direct debit, please note that the name of its bank account is now St John the Baptist Church, Layer de la Haye.

Site Map

Further Afield - Our Parishes in Context

Our parishes are in the Witham Deanery.

Witham Deanery is in the Diocese of Chelmsford. To learn more about our large Diocese which stretches from heavily populated East London to quiet rural Essex villages, visit the Chelmsford Diocesan Website.

Diocesan Bishop Designate
Bishop Guli
The Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani
Bishop of Chelmsford Designate
Area Bishop
Bishop Roger
The Rt Revd Roger Morris
Bishop of Colchester
Ruth Patten
The Ven Ruth Patten
Archdeacon of Colchester
Acting Area Dean
Revd Simon Garwood
The Revd Simon Garwood
Witham Acting Area Dean

Page updated: 05 Mar 2021 at 09:25